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Ministry of Finance

Central Board of Excise and Customs

The Indian Customs has issued a notification No 49/2007-Customs   dated 8-5-2007 which prohibits import of goods infringing intellectual property rights of the right holders under the Copyright Act, 1957, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Patents Act, 1970, the Designs Act, 2000 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Besides, the procedure for registration of a notice with the Customs by right holders and  the conditions for such registration, etc. have been laid down in the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules, 2007 notified under notification 47/2007-Customs (NT) dated the 8th May,2007 (hereinafter  referred to as the said Rules). The said Rules lay down a detailed procedure to be followed by the right holders or their authorized representatives as also by the Customs for seeking suspension of release of suspect imported goods.

It is pertinent to mention that while the mandatory obligations under Articles 51 to 60 of the TRIPS dealing with border measures are restricted to Copyright and Trade Marks infringement only, the above Rules deal with Patents, Designs and Geographical Indications violations as well, in conformity with the practice prevailing in some other countries, notably EU countries. The notification states that while it is not difficult for Customs officers to determine Copyright and Trade Marks infringements at the border based on available data/inputs, it may not be so in the case of  the other three violations, unless the offences have already been established by a judicial pronouncement in India and the Customs is called upon or required to merely implement such order. In other words, extreme caution needs to be exercised at the time of determination of infringement of these three intellectual property rights

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By Elizabeth March, WIPO Magazine Editorial Team** Source: WIPO Magazine Issue No. 6/2008 dated June 2008
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